House considers bills on pre-written lesson plans, elective… | TCTA
Share this page:

House considers bills on pre-written lesson plans, elective firearms safety course

Share this page:

The House is forwarding HB 1605 to the Senate. The bill, by House Public Education Chairman Brad Buckley, implements a program favored by Education Commissioner Mike Morath to provide high-quality instructional materials — including pre-written lesson plans — for optional use in school districts.

The proposal is in part intended to address concerns that teachers have raised about the amount of time spent developing and submitting lesson plans, but the bill has been portrayed by some as a “vendor bill” intended to benefit certain curriculum and instructional material developers such as Amplify. There are also concerns of a C-SCOPE-like situation where teachers in a district using the pre-made lesson plans would be required to implement them uniformly without allowing for customized lessons based on the needs of individual students.

TCTA worked with Reps. James Talarico and John Bucy to include amendments that will protect teacher planning and preparation time (offered by Talarico) and clarify teacher immunity with regard to instruction (Bucy).

The Talarico amendment provides that districts cannot require a teacher to spend planning and preparation time on initial lesson plan design or instructional material selection unless the teacher has entered into a supplemental contract to perform this duty for the district. The Bucy amendment clarifies that a teacher will not be subject to disciplinary proceedings for allegations pertaining to the so-called "CRT" law or the Establishment Clause of the Constitution if the teacher reasonably believes their instruction conforms with the instructional material used.

The House also considered HB 2976 on Wednesday, a bill that creates an elective course on firearms safety for high school students. An amendment was added that will require parents to consent to their child’s participation in the course. The bill passed on a voice vote.

Other education-related bills passing on an initial vote were:

  • HB 3255 by Rep. Christian Manuel, which requires principals, assistant principals, and security/safety personnel to complete several specific training courses on emergency response management.
  • HB 4716 by Rep. Manuel, which requires districts to refer students who receive special education services and have an intellectual disability or developmental disability to a local intellectual and developmental disability authority for potential services.
  • HB 3833 by Rep. Janie Lopez, which adds to the primary responsibilities of counselors that they must counsel students to fully develop their emotional abilities, and requires counselors to address the special needs of students who are at risk of choosing an unhealthy or inappropriate solution to a problem or engaging in harmful behavior.